What to Wear Under Cap and Gown [Graduation Attire]

As of March 20th it is officially spring—which means warmer weather, sunny days calling for dresses and tank tops, and the end of school! If you’re graduating soon, you’re no doubt thinking about what you’ll wear under your graduation gown. This is a moment that you’ll remember forever, and the pictures you take with friends, teachers, and family will be pictures you’ll look back on for the rest of your life. While your gown will be zipped up during your graduation ceremonies, you’ll no doubt want it open during pictures, which makes choosing your perfect graduation outfit that much more important!

What to Wear Under Cap and Gown

Dressing for graduation is different from dressing for other occasions, and there are many important things to consider. Keep reading for tips on what to wear under your cap and gown, how to accessorize, and what to consider when it comes to color coordination.

Know What Will Show Under Your Cap and Gown

Even though graduation gowns will cover most of your outfit when it’s zipped up during your school’s graduation ceremonies, some of your clothing might still show depending on the cut of your dress, shirt, skirt, or pants. Most guys choose to wear collared shirts which show above the lower-cut collar of the graduation gown—an easy way to look sharp and classy for this dignified occasion. However, for anyone out there wanting to wear a dress under your gown, chances are high that your top will not show under your zipped-up graduation gown.

If your outfit underneath doesn’t show beneath your graduation gown during the ceremony, that’s normal! And don’t worry about whether or not that will hinder your personal style—you can still make your graduation outfit unique by adding jewelry and other accessories!

Accessorizing Your Graduation Apparel

While there might be one hard and fast rule governing your ensemble choices for graduation ceremonies (i.e., your graduation gown!) there are still endless options when it comes to accessorizing! One of the most obvious choices for accessorizing your graduation outfit is finding the perfect necklace. Graduation gowns (and any cords or sashes you might be wearing over your gown) create the perfect frame for a beautiful necklace. 

what to wear under cap and gown

Our Luv AJ Pave Charm Dangle Gold Plated Necklace and our Luv AJ Cloe Large Oval Link Necklace would both look fantastic with your graduation gown!

Other accessories might include earrings, bracelets, or hair accessories. When it comes to heir, remember that you’ll want to style your hair in a way that will look good both with and without your graduation cap. 

Some schools might have rules concerning appearance and apparel at graduation ceremonies, so make sure to check with your own individual school’s policies. However, even if your school has more strict regulations concerning dress code during graduation ceremonies, you can still wear whatever you want before and after the formal ceremonies, as well as when you take your graduation photos!

What to Wear Under Cap and Gown: Consider Coordinating Colors

One of the most important things to consider when selecting your graduation outfit is color. While the color of your graduation gown will depend on your school and their respective colors, the one constant is that all graduation gowns are one solid color. Graduation gowns are intended to help you look professional, capable, and accomplished, and you don’t want your outfit to take away from that. Depending on the color of your graduation gown, certain colors will go better together. 

If you still need to find a graduation gown, look here!

what to wear under cap and gown

No matter the color of your graduation gown, there are some color and pattern guidelines that will help you look your best:

  • Stick to solid colors. Patterns are exciting and welcome in all other situations, but if you’re trying to look professional then solid colors are the way to go. If you really want to incorporate patterns in your look, look for something that isn’t too busy or distracting.
  • Light, neutral colors are usually best. Especially considering how dark most graduation gowns are, wearing a lighter color of clothing underneath will help create contrast and give your ensemble a good dose of variation.
  • When in doubt, wear white. Whether you’re looking to wear a dress or a dress shirt, white is the most neutral color and goes with any color of graduation gown—except if your graduation gown itself is white, of course. In that case we would recommend finding another soft color to pair with your grad apparel.
what to wear under graduation gown

Our For Love and Lemons White Mini Dress would be the perfect little white dress to wear under your graduation gown! 

Finding the Perfect Pair of Shoes

As you already know, walking at graduation requires…well, walking. And to walk well, you’ll want to find the perfect pair of shoes to wear with your graduation outfit. 

After all the stressful tests, hours of studying and deadlines, your graduation should be stress-free and as fun as possible. The last thing you’ll want to worry about is tripping during your walk across the stage as you accept your hard-earned diploma. While heels are fun and certainly add the perfect touch under the longer length of your graduation gown, make sure you feel comfortable walking in them. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that even though you’ll spend most of the graduation ceremony seated as you listen to speeches and watch everyone else walk across the stage to receive their diploma, you won’t be sitting the whole day. There will likely be a lot of standing in lines, running around to say hello to all your friends who are graduating with you, and posing for pictures before and after the ceremony.

graduation shoes

Whatever you decide to wear, remember that your graduation day is a celebration of you and all your hard work, as well as a chance to look around at all the people who have shown you support. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment, and good luck with everything ahead!

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